Monday, March 18, 2013

Julius H. "G." Marx

Groucho: Say, I wanna register a complaint. 
Captain: Why, what's the matter?
Groucho: Matter enough. You know who sneaked into my stateroom at 3:00 this morning?
Captain: Who did that?
Groucho: Nobody, and that's my complaint!

All of the Marx Brothers films have little spaces after each zinger, allowing time for the audience to laugh without missing the next one.

It's amusing that Groucho is always the lech in the movies, but that may be an exaggerated reflection of life.  Lines like,

Waitress: What can I do for you?
Groucho: I'll tell you later.

...would probably piss me off in a modern film, but the way he alternates being completely ridiculous with making sly dog side comments just amuses me instead.


Like a lot of things that feel like a given now, the humor of these movies seems like part of a universal cultural memory.  When I first started watching these films, I was surprised at how familiar the jokes and antics felt.  Did I watch them as a kid and forget?  Maybe.  What's more likely is they were copied, referred to and lampooned in a lot of old cartoons and came to me that way. 

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